A Victorian Labor MP has attacked the Coalition government for failing to deliver its promised Ministerial Advisory Committee (MAC) into LGBTI Health after two years in power.
Labor MLC for Western Victoria Jaala Pulford raised an adjournment in the Upper House last Wednesday to question Health Minister David Davis (pictured) on the MAC’s progress.
“Two years into this term the government has not appointed members to this committee,” Pulford told the Parliament.
“The government was very quick to rule out a conscience vote for government MPs on any marriage equality legislation in this Parliament and was very quick to act to repeal equal opportunity provisions.
“It would be nice if it applied the same kind of urgency to appointing this committee, and I would request that the minister appoint and convene as a matter of urgency this committee.”
Mental Health Minister Mary Wooldridge and the health minister called for expressions of interest in the committee in April this year, a year after the government had promised to create it.
Victoria’s Health Department received almost 100 applications for the committee and a spokesman for the health minister has previously said he was taking an “active role” in the process.
While Pulford acknowledged the health minister’s public commitment to the issue, she told the Star Observer listening to the LGBTI community did not appear to be a “high priority” for the government.
“Government MPs obviously have mixed views about the value of LGBTI community input,” Pulford said.
Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby co-convenor Anna Brown said the committee’s delay was of significant concern.
“While we obviously welcome the government’s commitment to the creation of a Ministerial Advisory Committee on health and wellbeing, the extended delay is a source of significant concern and frustration,” she said.
“The need for robust and comprehensive consultative mechanisms is even greater for our community given the lack of institutional architecture within government directed to addressing the needs of the LGBTI community, particularly when compared with other groups.”
Gay and Lesbian Health Victoria director Liam Leonard said he was looking forward to reconvening the Ministerial Advisory Committee.
The Baillieu government committed $4 million over four years from July 2011 to fund LGBTI youth suicide prevention initiatives, including the Healthy Equal Youth (HEY) grants as well as the committee.
The former Brumby government had two similar committees for health and justice.
The health minister is expected to respond to the adjournment in Parliament soon.
He had not replied to questions from the Star Observer at the time of publication.